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My Blue Estwing - My Favorite Hammer Tool for Feminine Fingered Electrical Work & Other Pounding

Updated on October 6, 2013

Why I Bought My Estwing Hammer & The Significance of My Assertion in the Title

After two decades of homemaking I read an article about a housewife who wired her family's new house. That article was enough to cause me to assert myself in a way from which there was no return.

My family would soon build our second new house. I determined that I would do the electrical wiring. The Estwing hammer was one of my first purchases for the wiring project.

I chose the Estwing for its size, comfortable in my long slender grasp. It is lighter weight, and slightly shorter than the full-size hammer of the same brand. The color of the cushioned hand grip became significant to me as a symbol of constructive power.

We were about to embark on a new chapter of our family life. The book of our family life change commenced with the sale of the first home we built.

Our children were primarily raised there, and the move to a new area 200 miles north carried us through the subsequent chapters: buying land, selecting the house plans, modifying the plans, moving to camp and finalizing the electrical wiring plans, erecting the shell of the house, and doing the wiring - then flipping the light switches, and celebrating the light!.

image credits: all photos are my own

My Estwing Electrician's Hammer Turns 29!

This blue hammer remains my favorite tool. It is solidly built, but small enough for easy handling. My electrical wiring project became a reality 29 years ago and the hammer is still going strong. It's in use every week, if not every day. I keep it in the drawer of my worktable in my art studio.

Have You Got One Too?

Do you own an Estwing Electrician's Hammer?

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Great Estwing Hammer Might as Well Wear a Wing

The wing label didn't last long but as far as I'm concerned this hammer always feels like it's carried on wings. The balance is perfect for my grip. I used the hammer all day long for weeks of working on the new house.

After that big project was tied up I turned to picture framing and it was just the right fit for me. I could have used a tack hammer but I preferred the Estwing. Since then I always know where my hammer is, using it all around my place.

Estwing E3-12C 12 oz Curved Claw Finish Hammer
Estwing E3-12C 12 oz Curved Claw Finish Hammer

You will value this hammer as much as I do, for its solid build, and versatility in tight places.

 

Viewpoint From the First Home We Built - my idea gestated looking out our windows at these hills

It felt like we already lived on the edge of the wilderness, looking to the south from our home that we put on the market, for sale. Domestic duties accomplished, one day, I settled down with a magazine that highlighted womens' accomplishments, and felt my life change forever, as I read about the woman who learned how to wire a house.

To myself I said: "I'm a woman; we're going to build a second house; I'll do the wiring!" From then on I refused to limit my activities to those within the feminine realm.

This lens is a story of my house wiring project, back in 1983, in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains. In order to do the wiring I needed a hammer of my own, so I went shopping for one the day I purchased all the wiring supplies, at an electricians' outfitters shop in the biggest city, 100 miles away from our new home site.

We Cut the Driveway Into the Mountainside

While I waited for the man with the Cat to bulldoze a cut into the side of the mountain, I purchased three electrical wiring books for the project. I went over the blueprints and studied the books, from the apartment we maintained in town.

Before the Wiring, the Plumbing

Since making my decision to tackle every part of the building project that I could manage, I got introduced to plumbing parts. I took the blueprints to the plumbing supply desk at the tiny town's hardware store. The clerk helped me select the necessary drain plumbing parts. He rattled off the instructions on what to put where.

I was still baffled, and asked him to lay them out in order on the floor. I'm a visual artist, and I drew the system parts on a scrap of paper. Then I packed them up and took them to the home site. The photo shows me consulting my drawing in preparation to assemble the whole first floor drain system.

The House is Up & I Begin Wiring

We lived in a campsite we built in a secluded spot above the house. The photo shows an idea of the size of the house. It was two full floors with an attic room extension above the second floor. I planned for two 200 amp panels. One was for household use and the second would handle a future garage with a workshop, and an art studio on the second floor.

Grab Your Hammer and Wire Your House Too

Have you ever wired a house?

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Revising Wiring Circuit Routes

We still lived in camp when my mom and step-father brought their motor-home for a long visit. Mom cooked and kept me company and consulted with me on proposed circuits.

The double exposure photograph shows me, in my feminine bow-trimmed hat, and my mother looking on and encouraging me, silhouetted in front of the view looking out southward from the first floor windowless den.

My Leather Tool Belt With My Hammer

My leather tool belt was a regular part of my clothing during the electrical wiring project. I scarcely had it out of my hands. Once I marked and labeled the routes, for boxes and switches and lights, I began nailing up the wiring boxes.

This photo shows my daughter in silhouette, leaving the downstairs family room, superimposed on a shot of the ranch where we boarded our horses until we moved to the campsite above the house. For the longest time I thought the silhouette was of me, but as I review photographs from that period, it's clear that it's Jennifer, because it's her size and her hairstyle. Look at the big bush on my head in the next picture.

A string of wiring cable is visible near the bottom of the photograph. It has just been drawn through the holes I drilled in the studs.

With My Estwing Hammer Job is Complete

At the time that I had nearly finished the wiring job, my dad came to help get the house in shape for habitation for the winter. The men left me alone to finish the work, per my circuit plans.

Dad and I posed for this picture after the State Electrical Inspector passed the job. Dad was so proud he was really choked up. It was a truly memorable moment for us. Dad bent the huge cables that came from the power company and fed into the house because I couldn't get them to move. Otherwise, he left the job to me.

To me, my Estwing hammer remains a symbol of my strength and versatility, in expanding my skills into areas foreign to me.

It Snowed In September that Year - we still lived in tents in our camp

This photo shows the front end of the house. It was partially solar, with specially designed heat mirror windows. The upper windows, that went above the 2nd floor picture windows, had yet to be installed. I used my hammer for all three floors of wiring and for installing sheetrock, shelves, and various other tasks.

Should You Wire Your Own House

Should you wire your own house?

Yes, it's one great way to save a load of money on house building costs.

Yes, it's one great way to save a load of money on house building costs.

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    • CrazyToolDude 4 years ago

      That's why I am friends with an electrician -- I'm lazy.

    • anonymous 4 years ago

      I think I'd follow you around and just nod my head!

    • EpicFarms 4 years ago

      As long as you know what you're doing (otherwise, it can get pretty dicey ;o)

    • Elyn MacInnis 4 years ago from Shanghai, China

      Not for me. But I am sure there are plenty of people out there who could. I would feed them dinner!

    • justmelucy 4 years ago

      Only if you have the knowledge and get everything inspected. Please be safe.

    • bwet 4 years ago

      Yes, if you have the skills to do it. Even if you don't determination and patience can also get your there. But be careful...

    • RoadMonkey 4 years ago

      You can do ANYTHING you want, provided you also take the responsibility to ensure that it is safe.

    • Ardyn25 4 years ago

      Yes, if you have the talent and are interested in learning. An inspector will steer you in the right direction and the money you save can be put to use in other areas.

    • Tea Pixie 4 years ago

      Yes. Learn, Learn, Learn and have an inspector check your work regularly. You deserve to learn a new skill and get a new house in the process.

    No, it's too unsafe for most people to do.

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      • neotony 4 years ago

        I witnessed someone fly off a ladder backwards being unsafe with the wires. that was scary.

      • nicks44 4 years ago

        Now my pops is an electrician, and I must say he is a pretty good one, however I am unable to do anything of what he teaches me ... So if you have to talent for wires, just stay away from them :)

      Take Care

      Before beginning any large wiring project, be sure to check with your region's electrical code. In our state the State's laws govern all electrical wiring projects, whether done by the homeowner, or by a private contractor.

      Do It Yourself Wiring Videos

      Standard Romex Cable

      My rolls of cable were wrapped in white insulating plastic, but they looked just the same. Inside the flat cable are variously colored wires. The black is the live power carrier wire, the white wire is the neutral one, and the unwrapped copper wire is the ground.

      image credit: ArnoldReinhold

      Romex Cable Caddy

      Romex Electrical Wire Cable Caddy, Spinner, Reel, Dispenser
      Romex Electrical Wire Cable Caddy, Spinner, Reel, Dispenser

      Makes the wiring job much easier. It just rolls off the spool, when you want it.

       

      What the Wiring Looks Like - it's like this under the switchplate

      Like everyone who wires a house, the process involves stripping about 6" of insulation from the cable, and snipping it off. Then each color-coded wire is connected to the proper screw on the switch unit, prior to screwing the switches into the connector box, before mounting the switch plate.

      You'll Need One of These

      TRENDnet 8P/RJ-45 and 6P/RJ-12, RJ-11 Crimp, Cut, and Strip Tool, TC-CT68
      TRENDnet 8P/RJ-45 and 6P/RJ-12, RJ-11 Crimp, Cut, and Strip Tool, TC-CT68

      All-purpose sturdy crimping tool, for cutting wires to lengths after removing the inches of cable insulation. My best friend for wiring!

       

      Let Me Know What You Think About My Wiring Project - and my favorite tool, my Estwing Hammer

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        • Teapixie LM profile image

          Tea Pixie 4 years ago

          I think it is fantastic. You go, Girl! I hope you are able to turn your skills into further work in the field. :)

        • Ardyn25 profile image

          Ardyn25 4 years ago

          I enjoyed following your journey with your hammer and electrical work. I think it must also feel good knowing that you helped create your home with your own hands. You are amazing, I'm not sure I would even attempt it. Good on ya!!

        • profile image

          sherioz 4 years ago

          I do a lot and I do some small electric work, but I would never attempt the wiring project that you did. Good for you!!!

        • thememorybooksh1 profile image

          thememorybooksh1 4 years ago

          amazing lens. thanks for sharing.

        • thesuccess2 profile image

          thesuccess2 4 years ago

          I'm giving you a blessing -- just for the title!

        • BillyPilgrim LM profile image

          BillyPilgrim LM 4 years ago

          Great advice, thanks for sharing x

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          JoshK47 4 years ago

          Very interesting information! Thanks for sharing!

        • lesliesinclair profile image
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          lesliesinclair 4 years ago

          @JoshK47: I'm glad you liked it, poor pictures and all.

        • bushaex profile image

          Stephen Bush 4 years ago from Ohio

          SquidAngel blessings.

        • awesomedealz4u profile image

          awesomedealz4u 4 years ago

          Lots of good info. Nice lens!

        • profile image

          fullofshoes 4 years ago

          Wonderful lens, loved reading about your project and of course, your favorite hammer. :) ~blessed~

        • lesliesinclair profile image
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          lesliesinclair 4 years ago

          @Teapixie LM: Thanks for the encouragement. In the future I hope to have another house to wire, or even just a studio or a garage. It was truly rewarding

        • lesliesinclair profile image
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          lesliesinclair 4 years ago

          @Ardyn25: Thanks. It was a real challenge for me, and very hard work, but it's rewarding to build competency.

        • lesliesinclair profile image
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          lesliesinclair 4 years ago

          @sherioz: Had I known what would be involved when I initially made the decision, I might not have decided to go ahead, but ignorance was bliss and I'm grateful for all of it.

        • lesliesinclair profile image
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          lesliesinclair 4 years ago

          @RoadMonkey: Thank you. That hammer sounds like a good deal. For months after completing the work I could not close my fists. My fingers were stiff, but I was fairly strong.

        • lesliesinclair profile image
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          lesliesinclair 4 years ago

          @thememorybooksh1: When we were living it we were so busy I didn't really understand what a huge undertaking it was.

        • lesliesinclair profile image
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          lesliesinclair 4 years ago

          @thesuccess2: I have to say that writing the title was a bundle of fun.

        • lesliesinclair profile image
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          lesliesinclair 4 years ago

          @BillyPilgrim LM: I appreciate your comment.

        • lesliesinclair profile image
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          lesliesinclair 4 years ago

          @bushaex: That is so generous. thanks

        • lesliesinclair profile image
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          lesliesinclair 4 years ago

          @awesomedealz4u: I'm pleased to get such feedback.

        • lesliesinclair profile image
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          lesliesinclair 4 years ago

          @fullofshoes: I really do get an emotional charge in just seeing my hammer, every time I open the workbench drawer. Such connections.

        • justmelucy profile image

          justmelucy 4 years ago

          Great lens Great Hammer. I'm a do it your self kind of lady. I also have my favorite drill, skill saw, band saw, router, sander etc. My drill got me the nickname Makita.

        • Elyn MacInnis profile image

          Elyn MacInnis 4 years ago from Shanghai, China

          You are awesome! Blessings to you!

        • randomthings lm profile image

          randomthings lm 4 years ago

          I think that is amazing! Great job! Very inspirational.

        • lesliesinclair profile image
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          lesliesinclair 4 years ago

          @justmelucy: Isn't it wonderful to feel at home with tools, Makita! My art studio is full of them.

        • lesliesinclair profile image
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          lesliesinclair 4 years ago

          @Elyn MacInnis: Aww shucks! I think we just rise to the occasion when the circumstances threaten to trip us up. We built the house for cash, but knew we really didn't have enough to pull it off, so that was real encouragement for me to get to work on it.

        • lesliesinclair profile image
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          lesliesinclair 4 years ago

          @randomthings lm: Thanks. I'd do it all over again; it was so rewarding.

        • octopen profile image

          octopen 4 years ago

          I think it was amazing! Go women empowerment!

        • EpicFarms profile image

          EpicFarms 4 years ago

          I've learned how to do a ton of stuff around the house (like lay ceramic tile, and install wood flooring, among other things). At the moment, I'm working on a new feed room for our horses; sometimes girl power is the only way to get it done.

          Way to go!

        • profile image

          anonymous 4 years ago

          I'm thinking maybe your Eastwing hammer could be honored with a place of prominence on your coffee table, it sounds like its about worth its weight in gold to you. I love how you took on the process and like with the plumbing, made your own drawings to accomplish the task right. I could feel the thrill that went through you and your Dad when your electrical wiring passed inspection. Thank you for including us in the circuit of this wonderful commercial for the Eastwing hammer!

        • SheilaMilne profile image

          SheilaMilne 4 years ago from Kent, UK

          I'm full of admiration! I wouldn't dream of doing anything like that.

        • Lee Hansen profile image

          Lee Hansen 4 years ago from Vermont

          Great job and thanks for sharing the story in this terrific lens!

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          anonymous 4 years ago

          Thanks for stopping to look at my lenses

        • AstroGremlin profile image

          AstroGremlin 4 years ago

          Great story and shows the value of going ahead and learning how to do it yourself (DIY). I've tackled tile (challenging), installing kitchen cabinets (a breeze), roofing (mostly just hard work), stonework, woodworking -- all kinds of projects. You can save a ton of money, know that the job is done right, and of course get a great feeling of accomplishment. Sometimes though, it makes good sense to hire a pro. Yes, I've done plumbing but I'm usually willing to pay a plumber!

        • rob-hemphill profile image

          Rob Hemphill 3 years ago from Ireland

          Well done, electrical wiring is tricky stuff and dangerous if you're not 100% sure of what you're doing. Hats off to you on this, I do only small electrical jobs and always do the plumbing - a burst pipe is better than an electric shock!

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